Farewell my little friend. ^^

Its been a sad few days in our household. We have lost our sweet diminutive very vocal little cat  Tibbs to old age. For such a minute moggie ( everyone always thought she was a kitten because of her small stature) she had a big character.Always a noisy girl she had the loudest meow and a purr that resembled a motorbike. When she wasn’t scaling high walls and house roofs like a cat burglar keeping an eye out for other kittys food to snaffle , she was making herself comfy in my lap and gazing up at me with those huge adorable Puss In Boots eyes. She was so sprightly, constantly under our feet, and quite often recieving black looks from the dog when she successfully dodged his failed attempts to herd her out of the kitchen. No place was considered out of bounds for Tibbs.She loved burrowing herself deep under the duvet in the bedroom or any box or bag hanging around was of course a ready made bed put there just for her………

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Hope you are in Moggie heaven now Mrs Tibbs. I still can’t quite believe your gone. Miss you so much my little friend. Xx

A Gift and Goulash.

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A few weeks ago my lovely friend Sarah gifted us a set of Recipes Around The World cook books ( a small selection of them are pictured above). I was delighted as they have a little bit of sentimental value for the boyfriend and I.   Going back a couple of years, we found ourselves having to live apart  due to unforseen circumstances.  We stayed seperately with folks and friends and I guess in a way it was like being teenagers again. There wasn’t much opportunity to spend any alone time together. When Sarah asked us to house sit for a week ( and let us bring our dog too 🙂 ) we jumped at the chance. The small things we really took  for granted as a couple such as cuddling up on the sofa with a dvd or cooking tea together were ours again to appreciate. Every evening we made something from the interesting Around the World recipe books in Sarah’s bookshelf, a tasty tagine from Morocco, a delicous creamy curry from Thailand, a steaming Russian stew. It was good to be a family again. 🙂

Time has passed and we are once more settled in our own place. Our friend has gotten married and two households have merged into one. Hence a big clear out of her and her hubbys belongings. The books have found a new home with us 😀

Last week we dipped into one of the books  again and found a recipe for Hungarian Goulash. This was good timing actually as I had recently bought a tube of real Hungarian Paprika Puree from The Paprika Lady Company.

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Ingredients ( serves 4 )

900g/2lb stewing beef
2 red peppers
50g/2oz butter
300ml/half pint beef stock
2 Onions
3 cloves garlic
4tbsp mild paprika
4tbsp olive oil
2tsp mild chilli powder
salt and freshly ground pepper
half tsp dried marjoram
3 bay leaves
1tsp cumin seeds

We substituted the paprika and chilli powder  with 1 tablespoon puree which was hot hot hot.:-)

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/ Gas 2. Cut the beef into large cubes. Core, de-seed and chop the peppers.Melt the butter.

2) Blend the peppers until smooth. Poor in the stock and blend for 1min until combined.

3) Peel and chop the onions. Peel and slice the garlic. Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole dish and cook the beef and onion for 5-10 mins until meat is browned and onions are softened. Add the garlic,paprika,chilli powder and pureed pepper. Bring to the boil.

4) Stir in seasoning, marjoram, bay leaves and cumin and bring back to the boil. Cover and bake for 1and a half/-2 hours, stirring twice during cooking, until the beef is tender. Remove bay leaves before serving.

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Enjoy!

Fabulous Finds from the Craft Fair.:)

At the weekend I took my teacup candle stall to the  Lets Get Crafty craft fair in Whalley.  This is the main fair I do and happily I had a great day sales and fun wise. I was able to spend some of/ well ok, most of my earnings on a few  lovely purchases at the fair. 🙂

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View of the fair.

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Some of my teacup candles.

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My fave stall today , Sew To Soul
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Polly The Vintage Caravan.

There were as usual some gorgeous stalls. And  Polly The Vintage Caravan was there serving tea, coffee and scrumptious cakes in pretty vintage crockery.

Here are a few treats and gifts I was tempted by :

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This colourful cat cushion from Sew To Soul makes a purrfect addition to our bedroom.

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I bought some Hot Paprika Puree from The Paprika Lady to add to chilli’s and stews. Looking forward to making some tasty Goulash.
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These socks and beads are from the ethical and lovely One Planet stall and are a birthday gift for a friend.

In fact Kerry who does the One Planet stall took some of my candles to sell at the One Planet shop in Accrington. 🙂

Here is my favourite and biggest purchase from the fair. I really treated myself !
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Its a beautiful duck egg blue lovingly upholstered chair.Looks wonderful in my blue and white bedroom.Very Shabby Chic. Another treat from Sew To Soul

I’ve said before that craft fairs and independant shops are ideal places for buying unique and gorgeous gifts. I also discovered a newly opened shop in my home town at the weekend called Urban Sheep where I bought a pretty blue bunny pattened summer bag as a present for a friend. I am truly tempted to indulge in one for myself!

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Thanks for admiring my pretty purchases. Check out your local craft fairs and independant shops. Who knows what treasures you may find. 🙂

Camping Ullswater ~ Places to visit.

As you may have read we have recently returned from a few days camping near Pooley Bridge in the Ullswater area of the Lakes. The we in question are myself, my boyfriend Wil and our elderly labrador Jake. We stayed at the Quiet Site and I reviewed it in my previous post.

Holidaying with the hound can prove quite a challenge but luckily the Lake District is quite geared up for accepting your four legged friend at various attractions. If you are into walking the countryside here includes some of the most awe inspiring terrain in England. Now that our Jakey is an old boy to much hiking around is no longer an option for us. But here are a few of the places we visited.

Whinlatter Forest
Whinlatter is a mountain forest park packed full of walking trails, mountain bike trails, and wildlife including Osprey, deer and red squirrels. There is also a kids adventure trail and a Go Ape for the more adventurous. Wil comes here alot mountain biking ( you can hire bikes here too) but it is also a great place to bring the dog.After checking out the trails we enjoyed a brew and homemade cake at Siskins cafe with its wooden veranda looking out onto the forest.Friendly birds darted from the many hanging bird feeders to feast on our crumbs.

High Cup Winery

Did you know Cumbria has its very own Winery? High Cup Winery is based at Townhead Farm at the foot of High Cup Gill in the Eden Valley. We discovered them whilst in the area last year but to our disappointment they were shut at the time. Luckily this trip they were open and busy constructing a fence round their fruit bushes to keep out the rabbits! The wines they produce come from their home grown raspberries,damsons,elderberries,rhubarb,gooseberries and even beetroot. We were able to sample them before we chose which ones to purchase. I was very keen on the spiced beetroot which is best served warm. We came away with bottles of ravishing rhubarb, raspberry rose and exquisite elderflower and apple. Perfect for sipping on a summers evening camping. 🙂

High Cup Winery.
High Cup Winery.

2011 was a good year!
2011 was a good year!

Llama Karma Kafe

A rather kooky coffee break stop off on the A66 Penrith, we had our lunch here oneday on the way to my nephews school sports day. Lovely food, a quirky peruvian interior,lots of animal inspired cuddly toys and gifts , a cozy woodburner.And Llamas in the back yard! Kids will love the Animal magic garden, the real live llamas and the wooden lifesize llamas.:)
Having the hound with us, we sat out front on one of the picnic benches. I had to go and have a sneeky peek at the Llamas though.Apparently the Llama Karma Cafe organizes Llama trek experiences in Lakeland too. Now that would be something to try!

Llamas at the Llama Karma Cafe.
Llamas at the Llama Karma Cafe.

Birdoswald Roman Fort

We have always wanted to see Hadrians Wall so decided on driving to Birdoswald Roman Fort near Brampton.Still in Cumbria, just, the longest intact expanse of Hadrians Wall can be found here. Not exactly ` Game of Thrones’ height but still impressive none the less! The weather was sunny but rather blustery and wild and I imagine the beautiful but harsh northern landscape must have seemed bleak to the Roman soldiers who lived along the wall. There’s a small museum at Birdoswald and information about the remains of the fort ( would have been better if there had been more artefacts on display from the site) , an English heritage gift shop and tearooms. You are welcome to bring your own picnic as there are benches in the courtyard. The attraction is dog friendly and there are extensive walking and cycling routes along the wall.

Hadrians Wall.
Hadrians Wall.

Jake on Hadrians Wall.
Jake on Hadrians Wall.

Birdoswald.
Birdoswald.

Ullswater Steamers

Ullswater is the second longest lake in the Lake District and I think, the most beautiful. A good way of enjoying the breathtaking scenery is to take a boat trip on one of the old Ullswater Steamersthat depart from the villages of Glenridding,Pooley bridge and Howtown and you can get hop on and off tickets which will allow you to explore the lake countryside partly by boat and partly on foot if you wish. We simply got a return ticket from Glenridding at one side of the lake, stopped off at Pooley bridge for lunch and a cream tea in the pretty riverside tea gardens at Granny Dowbekins Cafe and then headed back to Glenridding. It takes about an hour to get from one end of the lake to the other.

Waiting to board the steamer at Glenridding.
Waiting to board the steamer at Glenridding.

Jake's first boat trip age 13. Think he enjoyed it!
Jake’s first boat trip age 13. Think he enjoyed it!

Steamer on the lake.
Steamer on the lake.

Enjoying the trip.
Enjoying the trip.

Cream Tea in Pooley bridge.
Cream Tea in Pooley bridge.

We learn’t quite a bit about Ullswater on our trip. I didn’t realize but Donald Campbell broke the world speed record here in 1955 in the jet powered Bluebird K7. William Wordsworth was inspired to write his famous poem ‘The Daffodils’,when walking along the banks here with his sister Dorothy. And Ullswater is linked to Arthurian Legend where it is often referred to as “The Dark Lake”. I highly recommend visiting this less touristy area.:)

Camping Ullswater ~ The Quiet Site.( sshhhh!)

We have lately come back from a few days camping in The Lake District. Five awesome days at a campsite near Ullswater. The Quiet Site is situated two miles from the lake side village of Pooley Bridge, a haven of hostelries and tea gardens. Its a little out of the way~ maybe this accounts for the name, i’m not sure.At any rate it certainly is peaceful at The Quiet Site in term time June.Things may be different in the summer holidays, the site is certainly geared up for families ( old stone buildings house excellent shower blocks with hot showers and hairdryers, seperate family bathrooms, laundrette to wash those muddy clothes, under cover wash up areas, fridge and microwave,small shop selling basics, a games room and a tv room), walkers and is dog friendly too.:)

Can you spot Jake in the Lake? :)
Can you spot Jake in the Lake? 🙂

Greetings from The Quiet Site.
Greetings from The Quiet Site.

My niece and nephew on the swings at the adventure playground on the campsite.
My niece and nephew on the swings at the adventure playground on the campsite.

The site is divided into two parts.There are static caravans as well as a touring and tents area. Although on a slope the tourers and tents pitches have all been terraced so no worries about rolling down the hill in your sleep.:-D. As well as camping you can hire a Pod. Prices start at £35 per night. These wooden dome like structures have their own private decking areas and look a more warm and dry alternative to sleeping under canvas. Maybe Oneday…..

Buttercup meadows.
Buttercup meadows.

Why not  'Glamp' in a Pod !
Why not ‘Glamp’ in a Pod !

Sign on the country lane by the site.
Sign on the country lane by the site.

What we liked most about the site ( apart from the idylic location~views of buttercup filled meadows ,surrounding fells and Ullswater shimmering in the distance), was the somewhat quirky pub in the grounds, The Quiet Bar. The Quiet Bar is an old beamed Cumbrian long barn which was converted into a pub in the 1950’s. With seating made from wooden beer kegs, a huge fireplace with a roaring fire and ancient taxidermy adorning the walls it certainly is an interesting place to go for a pint. There is a selection of real ales on draught including the Quiet Pint which the other half describes as a ‘Good Northern Stout’, don’t ask me, i’m more of a cider gal myself. No food is served in the Quiet Bar unfortunatly.Dogs are welcome though.^^

The Quiet Pint.
The Quiet Pint.

Inside the Quiet Bar.
Inside the Quiet Bar.

A roaring fire in June.
A roaring fire in June.

Yep I am surrounded by stuffed animals.Yikes!
Yep I am surrounded by stuffed animals.Yikes!

We camped with a EHU ( electric hook up ) which cost us £21per night. The price included a £1per night charge for Jake our labrador.

Look out for my next post which will feature a few of the places we visited whilst camping here in Cumbria. 🙂

Ginger Margarita.

Sitting outside in the sun at a friends yesterday we decided the occasion needed a little something refreshing to sip. 🙂

We found a classic Margarita recipe
( makes 8 ).

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Two cups of Tequila.
One cup Contreau.
One small bottle of lime juice.
Ice Cubes.
Three limes chopped into chunks.
Juice of one lemon.
Salt.

We added a medium sized bottle of Ginger beer. This made the Margarita mixture a little easier to drink……and we enjoyed the Ginger Twist.:-D

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Mix together all the liquids in a big jug ~ tequila,contreau,lime juice,gingerbeer.

Add lime chunks and lots of Ice cubes.

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Frost the rims of the glasses with salt by simply dipping the top of each glass in lemon juice then salt.pat off the excess salt.

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Enjoy outside in the sunshine. x